As the game changes, the Dodgers organization has remarkably changed with it.
The organization continues to harp on a top-down implementation of technology and innovation, including the use of virtual reality to help hitters find and retool their swings.
Pedro Moura of The Athletic outlines it below:
The Dodgers are practicing their hitting in virtual reality. Some players' pregame routines now include time in a clubhouse lab or with a road-ready headset, studying the starter. "It’s been helpful to see a pitcher before he pitches, if that makes sense.” https://t.co/sBQvybrAoi
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) May 17, 2019
The article contains some very interesting accounts of the Dodgers applying the virtual reality to day-to-day operations. For example, while the Dodgers were on the road in Milwaukee, Cody Bellinger put on a headset and was able to see the starting pitcher that day, Chase Anderson, and his pitches coming in. Crazy.
The Dodgers are not the first club to adopt this program from the company WIN Reality, founded by former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd, and will certainly not be the last.
Andrew Friedman provided some insight on what the implementation of the program means for the franchise and on-field performance, as well as the idea that it is still a work in progress:
Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for all of our position players, to supply resources that speak to each one of them. A few of our guys have really enjoyed the VR experience. At this point, we’re still learning.
Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson are among the Dodgers to have experienced it, with Bellinger believing it did not help him and Joc stating the following:
It’s been helpful to see a pitcher before he pitches, if that makes sense.
Budding star Alex Verdugo has even had the opportunity to take in the VR experience and said the following about it prior to facing Madison Bumgarner:
If I feel like a starter has a pretty generic arm angle, then I’m fine. But he’s [Bumgarner] really down low, so I wanted to jump in there and see what it looked like. Then you already have an idea, so when you get into your first at-bat and you see the first pitch, you’re not so surprised.
The VR experience not only allows a hitter to see a pitcher’s tempo minutes before they step into the batter’s box, they are also able to do certain things like pick up arm speed, arm angle, arm slot, and rotational/lateral movement on each pitch.
The Dodgers have made a sizable investment in futuristic baseball, but let’s hope that in the near future, WIN Reality can help the Dodgers put wins up in the standings.